Equal footing for represented and unrepresented claimants in OIC

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Equal footing for represented and unrepresented claimants in OIC

Published 12 April 2022

The Official Injury Claim (OIC) service has published its third release of data covering the period from 1 December 2021 to 31 March 2022. This reveals a sharp increase in claims being successfully resolved within the process and that unrepresented claimants are, on average, recovering at least as much in damages as claimants who have legal representation.

Our commentary on the previous data release contained some myth-busting and we can now also dispel the concern that claimants are exposed to risk in using the system without representation. The statistics show there is clear parity between the compensation paid to both represented and unrepresented claimants and it is, in fact, the unrepresented claimants who nudge slightly ahead in terms of average awards.

New claims and settlements

The average number of new claims rose by around 1,000 per month. This is despite the reporting period containing the month of December, which is traditionally lower for new claims submitted.

In the previous reporting period there were 3,468 settlements recorded. The latest report period shows 13,843 settlements, a steep increase of almost 400%. This number rises further when adding ‘open settlements’ which account for matters resolved in the process but not marked as complete by a user. OIC has confirmed its intention to introduce an auto-closure feature to remove this issue and improve future reporting.

Damages

The frequency of exceptional uplift being claimed held relatively stable as against the previous period, as did claims featuring mixed injuries (both tariff and non-tariff) which remain at around 2/3 of claims submitted.

For the first time, we can now see more detailed information regarding tariff banding applied to settlements. 14% of whiplash injuries resolved within 3 months, 51% within 6 months and 28% within 9 months. However, we must apply caution when considering emerging trends. The data is for cases that have been settled so far and therefore naturally more biased towards lower prognosis periods on account of the date the system went live.

Liability

The number of liability admissions rose in the period from 82% to 84% and cases leaving the portal to go to court remain low, at just 250 for the reporting period. This is a clear sign that compensators are benefitting from the additional period afforded by the protocol for liability investigations. Admissions are being made where necessary, with claims being resolved thereafter, and the low volume of matters exiting the process to proceed to court suggests that disputes on liability are well-reasoned and provided with supporting evidence.

NVC

Although there is no commentary on NVC, we continue to see emerging behaviours in this area from some claimant representatives. These behaviours include:

  • Failing to bring the claim in the OIC if the NVC are over £10,000.00.
  • Starting the claim in the OIC, but then using incorrect methods to drop from the portal following a liability admission if the NVC take the claim over £10,000.00.
  • Issuing Part 7 proceedings for hire when liability and injury remain unresolved in the OIC.
  • Failing to complete the NVC claim document.

We continue to monitor these behaviours and have developed numerous strategies to combat them, which can be accessed via our whiplash reforms microsite. If you require access or strategic assistance please get in touch to explore this further.

Authors

Emma Fuller

Emma Fuller

Newport

+44 (0)163 365 7891

Kate Archer

Kate Archer

Manchester

+44 (0)161 934 3064

Kevan Smith

Kevan Smith

Birmingham

+44(0)121 698 5361

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